Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) is a specialised branch in dentistry along with 9 other specialities at the post graduate level. A Bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery (BDS) is a must to pursue post-graduation in any specialities in dentistry. Students in BDS are expected to learn all the basics of medicine and dentistry, whereas OMFS is focused specifically on Surgical procedures of Head & Neck and Mouth regions.
OMFS is unique on its own, as it deals with surgeries of the Head & Neck region, mainly the Face and the Jaw. It bridges the gap between Medicine and Dentistry. A doctor qualified in OMFS works alongside plastic surgeons and neurosurgeons, contributing the majority in reconstructive surgeries of the face. OMFS surgeons, on a day-to-day basis, deal with Trauma cases involving the Face; cancers affecting the oral region, facial region and jaws; surgeries related to cleft lip and palate; excision surgeries in case of lumps, swellings, and cysts in the oral cavity and related bones; minor surgeries like wisdom tooth removal, etc.
During the post graduation tenure, residents are posted in Hospitals and are very rigorously trained on a vast array of surgical procedures, and post-operation patient care. After post-graduation in OMFS, there opens a vast number of options of super specialities and fellowships in a more specific area of interest like Head & Neck Oncology, Orthognathic surgery, Craniomaxillofacial Surgery, Cleft lip & Palate, Reconstructive Surgery, etc; after which, surgeons can perform an enormous number of operations related to Facial bones and the soft tissues, or further pursue a career in cancer detection, treatment, and rehabilitation. OMFS surgeons can even pursue Fellowship in Trichology medicine and Hair transplant surgeries.
The main inspiration for my yearning interest in this career was my posting at Kidwai Institute of Oncology as a junior surgical resident in the 1980s, where I got to explore the field of oral cancer very well in the early days of cancer medicine.